Warren Buffett’s Son Announces $30M Investment

The foundation of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s son plans to invest $30 million in a central Illinois campus of facilities to help people with drug addiction and bring together social services.

The (Decatur) Herald and Review reports Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett announced plans Wednesday in Decatur.

Crossing Healthcare, which serves primarily low- and moderate-income residents, will own four new facilities including a residential rehabilitation building and outpatient treatment center.

Howard Buffett says the investment “will address the health of our community at multiple levels.”

Howard Buffett was appointed sheriff in September and was an executive at Archer Daniels Midland. Warren Buffett has helped the Howard G. Buffett Foundation by giving his Berkshire Hathaway stock. The foundation has donated millions of dollars to projects in central Illinois.

Average US Mortgage Rates Decline; 30-Year at 4.59%

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates are down this week amid a restrained home buying season this summer.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 4.59 percent from 4.60 percent last week. Long-term loan rates have been running at their highest levels in seven years. The average benchmark 30-year rate reached a high this year of 4.66 percent on May 24. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.90 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans fell to 4.05 percent this week from 4.08 percent last week.

Tesla Stock Drops Back Near Pre-Musk Tweet Level

Tesla shares have dropped back to near the level they were trading at before CEO Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday that he may take the company private.

Shares were down 6 percent to $347.26 in midday trading Thursday.

Shares had closed at $341.99 on Monday. Then Musk’s Tuesday morning tweet that he might take the company private at $420 a share sent them soaring to $379. 57.

The SEC already has opened an inquiry into the wording and method of Musk’s disclosure about the deal, according to a Wednesday report in The Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Musk acknowledged he was serious in an email to employees, and Tesla directors have said they’re evaluating it.

Exxon Asked to Pay $1.8M for Arkansas Oil Spill Damage

State and federal officials are asking Exxon Mobil to pay more than $1.8 million in compensation for a 2013 oil spill in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the state Game and Fish Commission proposed the settlement Tuesday. The funds would pay for wildlife restoration and compensate the government for damage caused when the 70-year-old Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Mayflower near Lake Conway.

The letter also asks the oil giant to fund the state’s purchase of land near the lake to facilitate monitoring and management of the property.

Exxon Mobil spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry declined comment. The company settled a lawsuit last year with dozens of families whose properties were damaged.

The pipeline runs about 850 miles (1,368 kilometers) through Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Texas. It was closed shortly after the spill, but a segment in Texas has since reopened.

J.C. Penney to Open 500 Baby Shops Amid Babies R Us Demise

J.C. Penney is expanding the baby products it sells at stores beyond clothing as the department store joins the many other chains trying to claim some of the Babies R Us sales up for grabs.

The Plano, Texas-based chain is opening baby shops in 500 stores that are near now-shuttered Babies R Us locations, now that Babies R Us owner Toys R Us has liquidated. Starting Aug. 30, J.C. Penney will sell in stores items like cribs, high chairs, strollers and car seats that it had formerly sold on its website only.

Retailers like Walmart, Target, BuyBuy Baby and Amazon are trying to attract former Babies R Us shoppers by adding more baby products, enlisting pregnant celebrities for promotions, or helping people recreate their gift registries.

EU Urges US to Cut Red Tape on Liquefied Natural Gas Exports

The European Union is urging the United States to cut red tape and simplify rules for the export of its liquefied natural gas if Washington wants the 28-nation bloc to buy more.

Amid a trade dispute over tariffs, President Donald Trump and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed last month to start talks intended to achieve “zero tariffs” and “zero subsidies” on non-automotive industrial goods.

The EU also agreed to build more terminals to import U.S. liquefied natural gas.

Juncker said Thursday that if it’s cheap enough, U.S. gas could help the EU diversify energy supplies and break its dependency on Russia.

But he said “the U.S. needs to play its role in doing away with red tape restrictions.”

Senior EU and U.S. trade officials meet in Washington on Aug. 20.

Yelp’s Q2 profit tops expectations as ad revenue jumps

Yelp’s second-quarter results blew past Wall Street expectations, fueled by a 21 percent surge in advertising revenue.

The online business reviews company raised its profit forecast for the year and its stock soared almost 14 percent in after-hours trading.

The San Francisco-based company on Wednesday reported net income of $10.7 million, or 12 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for stock option expense, came to 38 cents per share. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 25 cents per share.

It posted revenue of $234.9 million in the period, also exceeding Street forecasts. Fourteen analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $231.9 million.

Advertising revenue rose to $226.2 million from $187.7 million a year earlier.

For the current quarter ending in October, Yelp said it expects revenue in the range of $242 million to $246 million. That’s up from a previous forecast of $230 million to $233 million

The company expects full-year revenue in the range of $952 million to $967 million. That’s up from a previous forecast of $943 million to $967 million.

Shares in Yelp Inc. rose $5.22, or 13.6 percent, to $43.38 in after-market trading.

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